this class, enrolling in the same year, enrolling in the same program, sharing similar aspirations, sharing similar backgrounds (work experience, religion, generation, ethnicity, culture, nationality, family status, etc.), sharing similar experiences coming to school here, sharing similar values commitments, similar career aspirations, etc. Your challenge will be to think through the “us” whom you hope to move to join you in acting together on behalf of a shared calling. Some of the “us’s” you could invite your classmates to join are larger “us’s” in which you may already participate. You may be active in the environmental movement, for example, and may find others among your classmates who are as well. You may be active in a faith community, a human rights organization, a political campaign, a support organization, an immigrant association, a labor union, and alumni group, etc. Some “us’s” have been around for literally thousands of years, such as the stories that define most faith traditions – some only for a few days. Most “us’s” that have been around for a while have stories about how their founding, the challenges faced by the founders, how they overcame them, who joined with them, and what this teaches us about the values of the organization. They also usually have tales of critical crises that were faced, like the American Civil War, for example, about which Abraham Lincoln told such a powerful story in his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address. So you may want to invite your classmates to join you in a larger “us” already working together or you may want to engage them in articulating a new “us” based on experiences that you are sharing now. In fact, you probably already have numerous stories of us that communicate what it means to be a “midcareer”, for example, based on events that took place during the summer program. Remember, like all stories, a story of us is built from a challenge, the choice made in response to that challenge, and the moral taught by the outcome. How would you define the “us” whom you hope to call upon to join you in your public narrative? Please describe it in a single sentence if you can. Story of Now Now we know why you’ve been called to a particular mission, we know something of who it is you want to call upon to join you in that mission, so what action does that mission require of you right here, right now, in this place? A ‘story of now” is urgent, it requires dropping other things and paying attention, it is rooted in the values you celebrated in your story of self and us, and a contradiction to those values that requires action. • • •
Do you share the value that those who sacrifice for their country should be honored for doing so? Does the quality of care returning veterans receive meet this standard? If not, what are you going to do about it? Do you share the value that the current generation should pass on a livable world to the next generation? Do the measures being taken to deal with climate change meet this standard? If not, what are you going to do about it? Do you share the value that powerful institutions, especially those that benefit from public support, have moral responsibilities to the public in how they use their power? Which one’s? How? What are you going to do about it?